I had the amazing experience of working with Joe Posner on his series of op-vids for Newsweek/Daily Beast. I stood in front of a black drop cloth in an old factory building in Brooklyn. Posner blasted questions at me, challenging me to improvise, shooting my answers with different cameras from different angles. Then he really went to work, adding animations and images and the result is … what you see on The Daily Beast home page today. A very cool project in all kinds of ways. (Click here to watch.)
But the core of the project is a message that is the opposite of cool. The U.S. system of government is badly failing—and is recklessly complacent about it. We're halfway through a decade of mass unemployment, and unlike that of the 1930s, this political system seems willing to accept that outcome as a price of doing business.
I started from Tip O'Neill's observation, reviewing his career in Congress, that over those 30 years, "the people got better; the results got worse." I tried to explain why that would be so. (My explanation prompted one Twitter pal to rephrase my argument for me: "Fill Congress with Ignorant Drunkards, Urges Foreign-Born Provocateur.") The longform version of that answer is the story of my novel, Patriots … but thanks to Joe Posner, we produced an abridged audio-visual version with pictures—but alas, without the jokes. For those, you must pay your $9.99.